Is it normal to experience chronic pain after hernia surgery?

Treating chronic pain after hernia surgery Experiencing pain after hernia surgery is part of the normal healing process. If you had inguinal hernia surgery in the groin area and your pain after surgery is lasting longer than six months, however, it is considered to be chronic pain. 

Chronic pain is not normal and should never be ignored. It can indicate that there is a nerve injury, nerve damage, or inflammation happening in the surgical area. Chronic pain should be evaluated by a pain specialist to determine the cause and best options for relief.

Types of Post-Surgical Pain

Most hernia surgeries are minimally invasive procedures that involve pushing the hernia back inside the body and placing a mesh patch and stitches on the abdominal wall to strengthen and support the area using a laparoscopy technique. Some hernia surgeries are done as open surgeries and use the same mesh technique. 

After surgery, it is normal to feel pain for several weeks. Pain is part of the healing process and can be relieved by medication. 

For pain that does not go away, there can be other reasons. Post-surgical pain can result from:

  • Inflammation from the placement of the mesh
  • Sensory nerve entrapment in the scar tissue
  • Nerve damage or injury

Chronic pain after hernia surgery can be felt as a burning or stabbing pain in the groin area and cause complications with sleep. Some other symptoms of chronic pain after hernia surgery are:

  • Pain when walking
  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain in the groin area or testicles
  • Pain that radiates
  • Feeling that something foreign is in the body
  • Pain with physical intimacy
  • Pain with wearing clothing such as underwear or a belt
  • Psychological distress

Chronic Pain Treatment Options

Treatment for chronic pain after hernia surgery depends on the cause and level of pain you are experiencing. If you are experiencing persistent pain for six months or more, nerve damage is likely to be the reason. 

The most common cause of chronic pain after hernia surgery is damage or injury to a nerve. During hernia surgery, a nerve may have been injured, compressed, or stuck in scar tissue after the mesh insert was placed. To determine if the pain is the result of nerve damage or injury, a nerve block may be used. A nerve block uses a local anesthetic to reduce the pain. If the nerve block temporarily reduces the pain, it indicates that nerves are the cause of the problem.

Dr. Williams can do the following to help with a nerve-related pain issue:

  • Nerve reconstruction
  • Nerve decompression
  • Nerve resection
  • Additional surgery to correct the previous hernia repair procedure

Contact a Post-Surgical Pain Specialist

If you are suffering from chronic pain after hernia surgery or have questions about what options are available to relieve chronic pain after surgery, contact post-surgical pain specialist Dr. Eric H. Williams. To schedule a consultation in our Baltimore office, contact us online or call us at 410-709-3868.